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Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Steve Daniels

Plans for £250M national flagship scrapped by British Government

8 November 2022

The British Government has scrapped plans to build a national flagship yacht estimated to cost up to £250 million.

Initial plans for the national flagship were introduced under Boris Johnson and the vessel was envisioned as a successor to the 126 metre Royal Yacht Britannia. The yacht was intended to host diplomatic events and trade fairs but plans were heavily criticised as a "vanity project".

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs that the national flagship scheme is now suspended and that the Ministry of Defence would be commissioning the build of two multi-role ocean surveillance (MROS) ships instead to "protect the UK’s critical national infrastructure" following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Andrew Winch's original design for the successor to Britannia
Credit: Winch Design

Speaking in the House of Commons, Wallace said: "In the face of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s reckless disregard of international arrangements designed to keep world order, it is right that we prioritise delivering capabilities which safeguard our national infrastructure."

The Queen on board formal royal yacht HMY Britannia in 1995
Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The tendering process for the design and construction of the ship was already underway and has now been suspended.

Rear Admiral Rex Cox, CEO of the National Shipbuilding Office said: "The National Flagship project showcased the talent of the UK’s maritime industry and I am grateful to all those bidders who took part. The willingness to embrace modern design and production practices with a focus on green innovation embodies the essence of the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh. This contemporary approach to shipbuilding and design will be fundamental to the success of the future shipbuilding pipeline."

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